Fan Fiction » Rin » Double Back » Chapter 1
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
"As if, Jess; you know I'm gonna beat you for the third time in a row. Why even bother…Oh, hey, Dad!" Jonny Quest called to his father as he and his friends entered the brick building. The sunlight from outside glinted off his golden hair as a cool breeze made his white T-shirt bristle like the faint waves audible from the beach. "What're you doing up here? I thought you were helping Race fix his car."
"We were just playing in QuestWorld for a while," added Jessie Bannon, swiping a strand of fiery red hair as she and Jonny reached for two Questor glasses for the program and Hadji Quest-Singh, Jonny's adopted brother from India, took the seat behind the motherboard computer. "Looks like you've already got a pair on. Would you like to play with us?"
"Those QuestWorld glasses aren't like ours, Doctor Quest," noted Hadji with undisguised curiosity. "Aren't they one of the pairs we used to use a few years ago, right after you made QuestWorld?"
"Why do you have on those antiques, Pop?" joked Jonny, holding up the modernized glasses. "Here; want a pair of these?"
"No," he gasped out, as he stood stiffly, not removing the small helmet attached to the older prototype glasses, but ripping off the glasses themselves from it as if they burned him.
"Are you all right, Doctor Quest?" questioned Hadji, his fingers pausing for a moment as he scrutinized his adopted father and employer. "You are bleeding!"
His eyes somewhat dazed, Benton gripped the days-old wound, as if attempting to hide it, touching the stiff rag as if just realizing was present.
"Dad?" Jonny moved toward him. "You're kind of pale…er than usual. You look like you just saw a ghost." Gently, he reached out and laid his hand on his father's arm, knowing that whatever was wrong, he and his friends would surely be able to help his father fix it. They were a team; all of them together could move mountains, and had before (you don't want to know…).
The hand on the injured arm suddenly clenched into a fist, and he pulled his arm out of Jonny's grasp, his face twisting slowly into a half-smile and his eyes softening with his gaze found his son's. "I'm fine, Jonny. You kids have fun in QuestWorld. I'll…see you a little later."
With that, he quickly exited the Lighthouse and stalked back down the stone path toward the Mansion. Jonny, Hadji, and Jessie stared after him, each bewildered by his odd, unnatural behavior. Dr. Benton Quest rarely acted so unnerved and reserved, and was usually quite open about what he was doing; he loved nothing more than to describe his latest experiment or discovery and watch his children's eyes alight. If something non-work related was bothering him, he was known to bring his family (or often just Jonny) into one room and explain his feelings. It was hardly ever than he acted so secretive.
"Is your dad okay, Jonny?" asked Jessie slowly. "He looked scared, almost."
"He looked upset, or angry," added Hadji in agreement. "What was wrong with him, do you think?"
Jessie turned to Jonny, pointing her finger at him accusingly. "Jonny Quest, what did you do this time?"
Jonny raised his palms up defensively. "Nothing that I know of, I swear! Maybe he found that program we accidentally infested with virus bugs last week…"
"We!" repeated Hadji indignantly. "That was you, my friend. I did a very good job at cloaking it as well, thank you very much."
"Maybe you should ask your dad what's wrong, Jonny, just to be sure," Jessie suggested. "He'll tell you."
"Yeah, maybe you're right. Be back in a sec, guys. Go ahead and start up the flight simulator."
Jonny ran down the path to catch up with his father, who seemed to be stalking much faster that his usual controlled stride. The man took the many deck stairs on the side of the house two at a time, urgently pulling open the sliding glass door that led to their large, grand kitchen.
Jonny followed his father from a distance, trying to catch up as the man half-ran through the house, past all the exquisite, expensively decorated rooms and foreign, priceless paintings and pottery and furniture.
"Dad, wait up!" he called, but Benton did not seem to hear him, merely pounded faster up the swirling staircase that led to the upper floors (the Mansion has four in all, though the fourth is used only as an attic).
He does not stop.
His intuition (which Hadji refers to as more of a psychic ability) began to kick in, as it always did when something was amiss, and he knew that whatever was causing his father to act so freaked out was sure to be more than a petty QuestWorld malfunction.
He broke into a run as Dr. Quest neared a hallway with unscathed dark wood floors covered a Tibetan rug and exotic Asian paintings and bamboo trees in pots.
When he turned the corner, he heard a door slam, but to his surprise, it did not sound as if it came from Dr. Quest's room, which was about halfway down, but from the door beside it. But what would his father want in the Tibet room? Surely he wouldn't need any of the Oriental statuettes or old scrolls to help Race fix his beloved sports car, or to make right a QuestWorld program gone haywire.
A chilling feeling creeping up his spine for a reason he was not yet sure of, he silently pushed open the heavy door and slid into the room. Thick, heavy curtains tied in the middle with golden twin covered the windows, tall bookcases and small tea tables with looping, coiled carvings decorated the floors, with figurines of slithering creatures and porcelain dolls and ancient books lining the shelves. The walls were painted dark velvet and two marble horses, reared up in mid-cry, guarded the fireplace.
But no sign of his father.
Something deep inside him told him not to call out, so there he stood, not knowing what exactly to do, when suddenly he sensed someone standing uncomfortably close behind him.
His breath caught and he whirled around, prepared for anything.
"Jonny?" Dr. Benton Quest's voice was filled with bafflement, his expression one of honest curiosity as his chocolate brown eyes appraised his son.
Jonny breathed a sigh, just the mere sight of his father driving away all unease.
"You scared me," he said with a sheepish grin.
Dr. Quest half-smiled back in pure amusement, the look of perplexity deepening on his handsome features. "What on earth are you doing in here, Jonny?"
"Looking for you," he answered honestly, but then he almost laughed when he felt that the man might not believe him…what a weird thing to think - he had come in here first!
This time, Dr. Quest merely chuckled at his son's answer (he was rather used to weird responses from the young Quest). "Well, here I am. Is something wrong?"
"No, well…I don't know. I was going to ask you that. You seemed sort of…weirded out."
There is was again - that look of confusion that made Jonny believe his dad must think he's crazy…or high. Or both.
"Did I, now?" he said, fighting a smile. "I came here to get the wrench that I keep in my nightstand." He held it up illustratively. "Race and I needed it for the car." Seeing his son's eyes narrow in mystification, he added reassuringly, "I'm not troubled about anything, son."
Dr. Quest laughed aloud at the absurdity of the situation, unable to control it, and put his arm around Jonny's shoulders, leading him out of the room.
"You are certainly odd at times, did you know that, son?"
The sound of his father's laughter and teasing instantly made Jonny's mood lighter again. "Yeah, I get it from my dad. He's kind of weird too sometimes."
They laughed together, and Jonny failed to notice that the arm his father placed around his shoulder was not wrapped in a bloodied bandage around the top.